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NGIB 09-16-2009 04:39 PM

Night Sights?
We were hijacking a thread about a nice new 1911 so I created this one. I know many folks are absolutely adamant that their pistols have night sights. Me personally, it's not a big deal to me. I have 2 guns with night sights - but they came that way.

IMHO, I find night sights an expensive option and I'd just as soon spend the money on good mags or more ammo to train with. I train to point shoot at defensive ranges (3-7 yards) on all the pistols I'd carry. While I've never had to use a weapon in defense, I'm thinking that a careful sight alignment will be the furthest thing from my mind should the need arise. My goal will be to point to COM and let fly until the threat is over. I train on this so I'm comfortable I can hit COM consistently without really using sights.

Actually my favorite sight setup on my guns is a wide notch plain black rear with a white dot (or fiber optic) front. Quick acquisition when sights are necessary and easy to reacquire for follow up shots...

Dillinger 09-16-2009 04:58 PM

I was wondering why one discussion wasn't enough, but after reading your opening statement, it makes perfect sense. :p

All my pistols have night sights. And I will explain why, again.

Having taken the Defensive Shooting Class and the CCW Protection Class at Valhalla Training Center, I was exposed to plenty of full, bright light conditions. I had no problem shooting in those conditions.

However, I was also exposed to very low light, foggy conditions, dimly lit, strobe light from a disco ball, complete darkness with only the pop up target being illuminated by my instructor with a flashlight, or by a side or backlight and long hallways with only a side light at the end.

In all of those scenarios, being able to align my weapon at various distance, at various heights, at different angles, was MUCH easier with my factory installed night sights. As a matter of fact, I rarely missed, and that was with multiple shots, even on multiple targets.

Where I found the night sights to be the most relevant to this discussion was in the low, or dimly lit scenarios I was confronted with.

A long "L" shaped hallway, with a pop-up at the elbow, and a light that was directed from the small leg towards the corner. When the target moved from cover, it was fully illuminated by the light, then when it was in "attack" position, it was only backlit by the light. Putting my green dot on the silhoutte that was 30 feet away made the rounds hit home without any extra thought.

In another scenario I was faced with, I had to escort my principle ( instructor ) thru a busy nightclub, with music, strobe lights, smoke and the diversions of mannequins all over the place. 2 targets were placed in the nightclub, at different distances, and the lighting made it that one second you would be in colored light, the next you would be in darkness as the disco ball revolved and moved. I never had a problem picking up the front site and aligning in conjunction with the distance to the threat.

Now, I have been shooting a long time, and I have always had night sights on my weapons. I also have 20/15 vision in both eyes, so my vision is perfect. I am lucky. What works for me, may not work for you.

But, I firmly believe that if you train with the weapon, you should know the weapon.

NGIB trains a different way than I have been trained. What works for him, might not work for me, and vice-versa. You need to make a decision as to what will work for YOU and then you need to train that way so that you get dead on perfect with your weapon.

Any other advice is just plain ridiculous....

I have never understood the reason for ADJUSTABLE pistol sights on a factory pistol, in a factory caliber however. I have never had to adjust one pistol site until I converted a 1911 to my .460 Rowland project. And even that was one click....


NGIB 09-16-2009 05:23 PM

Great comments JD. My vision isn't great anymore so I tend to rely more on instinct AND knowing my gun more than absolute sight alignment. A caveat, I've had lazy eye in my right eye forever and I'm right handed so I had to find a style that worked for me.

To me, anything over 7 yards really isn't what I consider a normal defensive scenario and at this range I can put them all COM regularly. As far as adjustable sights go, only on my range type guns as it allows quick adjustments when shooting different loads.

Also, not sure I'll ever be escorting anyone through a nightclub with strobe lights flashing and a spinning disco ball - but I'm very glad to know I can call on you should I find myself in this situation...

canebrake 09-16-2009 05:43 PM

JD, we rarely disagree on anything but night sights are as worthless as teats on a boar hog!

I never have, and probably never will attend a Defensive Shooting Class at a training center (would like to) and as set in my ways will never see a need for tritium anywhere other than my LumiNox Nighthawk.

And I'm sure you remember my mugging when I tried to defend my PD point shooting.

I think this parting of the accessory ways is an age gap thingie. Oh to have my 50 yo eyes back!

I think that's why I seem to draw a parallel with Dave on this issue. I guess "old misery" enjoys company.

It's you and me Dave against the young'uns! I'll cover your back! Oh yea, I do COM point shooting real good! (Out to my eyesight limit that is!)

NGIB 09-16-2009 05:49 PM

I was literally twice as old as most of the shooters the first time I shot pins in Hinesville. Old, overweight, creaky back & knees, crappy eyesight, thick glasses - and outshot all those young whippersnappers. Still regularly do.

They've threatened to move the pins out past 7 yards though which sucks as I can't see that far...

Dillinger 09-16-2009 05:49 PM

Hey that's cool. I am sure there are other things that we will disagree about.

But, seeing as you two are a couple of the leading 1911 posters, and people are soliciting opinions on their FIRST 1911's, I figured it was good to have a younger and better eyed opinion of these accessories out there for consumption.

After all, not everyone here is old and decrepit. :D


NGIB 09-16-2009 06:26 PM

Good point JD.

If the 1911 wasn't the best natural pointer hence the best fighting pistol on the planet, old farts like Cane and I would need lasers and optics and such...

Dillinger 09-16-2009 06:27 PM

Well, I never said that brother, I was just saying that there are OTHER opinions about the platform that PERHAPS you two wise and well educated men MIGHT be overlooking in your old age. :p

SGT-MILLER 09-16-2009 06:38 PM

Night Sights are a good gimmick. If they work well for you, then keep using them.

Personally, I don't see the use for them on any of my "rigs". I've never had any issues operating any of my firearms with good accuracy in low-light with standard sights.

I like the K.I.S.S. principle. The simpler the weapon platform, the simpler it is for operations, and maintanence.

Flint Rock 09-20-2009 05:29 PM

When using a flashlight I have found that it didn't really matter what kind of sights I had. I could see and use solid black sights, white dots, night sights, or fiber optic sights. In fact, for me the fiber optic sights were the most visible using a flashlight. If there is no light, and if you are aiming using the sights (as opposed to instinctive aiming), then nights sights should have an edge. Short range, high speed, defensive shooting, lessens the need for sights in general. Some models of handguns don't even really have sights, more like a channel down the top of the barrel.
At the shooting schools I've been to, we practiced moving as fast as we could, at an angle to the target, shooting it down, usually with one hand. Aiming with the sights was generally not possible. If you watch dash cam footage of officer involved shootings, that's a common scene. Sure there are times for careful aiming, but short range defensive shooting generally isn't one of those times. As the range opens up, sights are more important, but you still need to see the target, and night sights don't light up the target.
I think that the night sights are an over rated profit builder for the sight maker. Practice with what you have and don't worry about the sights. Invest in quality training.

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